Olympic Games 2024 in Paris: forcing the French Handball Federation to have its athletes play in the capital

It is the cold war between the French Handball Federation (FFHB) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). On Tuesday, the Board of Directors of the Olympic Organizing Committee (COGO) will hold an assessment of the reallocation of Olympic venues two years after the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics. So Felipe Bana, president of FIFA, chose to play his last cards by sending a letter on Saturday 9 July to Amelie Odea Castera, Minister of Sports, Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In this document, which Le Parisien was able to refer to, the head of the National Handball Authority asks French players to be able to perform in the capital during the next Olympics. In fact, the Pierre Moroy stadium in Lille (North) is supposed to host handball matches at the moment. “A high-quality site where our Olympic champions will play with pleasure and pride”, Philip Bana insists, nevertheless deplores “the alteration of the sporting experience of these champions (…), with this total exclusion from Paris for them and them”.

The French handball coach relies on a list of French men’s and women’s handball awards which “has awarded France a number of medals which often puts it at the fore in French sport” and as such “probably deserves a minimum of balanced treatment and respect”.

Views of Hall 6 of the Paris Exhibition Center

However, this letter is not written in a tone of desperation because the FFHB has good reasons to consider moving handball matches to Paris in 2024. With good reason, Cojo and Fiba decided for more than three months to give up Hall 6 of the Paris Expo Center to host basketball matches Due to many technical limitations.

Since then, the possibility of returning part of the handball to Paris and placing the preliminary round of basketball at the Pierre-Moroy stadium in Lille, which had previously hosted the European Championship in this field in 2015, before the finals of the stages at the Accor Hotel. Arena.

For Cojo, this option has a double advantage. On the other hand, organizational because it makes it possible to restore balance to its program by allowing French handball, whose two teams are Olympic champions, to play in Paris. On the other hand, economical because it also allows to avoid financial losses thanks to the subsequent reception capacity of the infrastructure in Lille. “Our athletes and French handball supporters will not understand whether this opportunity has been squandered because of their misunderstanding,” said Philippe Bana. The balance between our team sports will be destroyed and will turn into an incomprehensible injustice to our athletes, who are wary of these issues. »

FIBA wants basketball to stay in Paris

If she accepts to give up Hall 6 of the Paris Exhibition Center, FIBA ​​nevertheless wishes that basketball meetings remain in the capital or the Paris region and that teams can stay in the Olympic Village. The International Basketball Authority notes in particular the technical problems with the air conditioning inside the Pierre-Moroy stadium and therefore wishes to study all the Paris and Ile-de-France tracks.

Among these is the badminton replacement at the Arena de La Chapelle, but Cojo points out that no other site has a ceiling high enough to accommodate this discipline and that opening a new one would cost several million euros.

VIBA is another option: another exhibition centre, the Villepinte Center (Seine-Saint-Denis) northeast of Paris. With a boxing move there, which was initially planned at Susan Lenglin Stadium in Roland Garros, Cojo caught Fiba’s attention for this several-room venue.

The Olympic Organizing Committee is now obligated to submit studies that show Lille is the best technical and financial solution for basketball, and also prove that other avenues have been explored.

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